New in Firefox Nightly: In-content Preferences

18 May, 2014 § 46 Comments

I’m happy to announce that starting today, the new in-content preferences are enabled by default in Firefox Nightly.


This project was started by a group of students at Michigan State University and was mentored by Blair McBride and myself. Since its start, it has continued to get a ton of attention from contributors world-wide.

This is a list of people who have contributed patches to the in-content preferences as of this posting:

  • Ally Naaktgeboren
  • Andres Hernandez
  • Andrew Hurle
  • Benjamin Peterson
  • Benjamin Smedberg
  • Brendan Dahl
  • Brian R. Bondy
  • Brian Smith
  • Carsten “Tomcat” Book
  • Chris Mahoney
  • Chris Peterson
  • Christian Ascheberg
  • Christian Sonne
  • Devan Sayles
  • Dão Gottwald
  • Ed Morley
  • Ehsan Akhgari
  • Florian Quèze
  • Gervase Markham
  • Gijs Kruitbosch
  • Gregory Szorc
  • Honza Bambas
  • Jan de Mooij
  • Jan Varga
  • Jared Wein
  • Javi Rueda
  • Jeff Walden
  • John Schoenick
  • Jon Rietveld
  • Jonathan Mayer
  • Josh Matthews
  • JosiahOne
  • Kyle Machulis
  • Mahdi Dibaiee
  • Manish Goregaokar
  • Manish Goregaokar
  • Mark Hammond
  • Martin Stransky
  • Matthew Noorenberghe
  • Michael Harrison
  • Mike Connor
  • Mike Hommey
  • Ms2ger
  • Nicholas Nethercote
  • Nick Alexander
  • Owen Carpenter
  • Paolo Amadini
  • Phil Ringnalda
  • Richard Marti
  • Richard Newman
  • rsx11m
  • Ryan VanderMeulen
  • Sebastian Hengst
  • Sid Stamm
  • Ted Mielczarek
  • Theo Chevalier
  • Tim Taubert
  • Yosy
  • Zuhao (Joe) Chen

There is still a lot of work to be done before shipping the new in-content preferences out to people on the release builds of Firefox. That also means that this long list of contributors doesn’t have to stay at 59 people, it can keep growing 🙂

We have a list of bugs that we need to fix before we can call version 1 of this project complete. The easiest way for someone new to help out is to download Firefox Nightly and help test that the new preferences work just as well as the old preferences. If you find an issue and see that it hasn’t already been reported, please file a new bug in Bugzilla and leave a comment on this blog post with a link to the bug that you filed.

In-Content Preferences

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§ 46 Responses to New in Firefox Nightly: In-content Preferences

  • jrbrusseau says:

    I like the new UI it matches the rest of the app. But in content preferences was already available via chrome://browser/content/preferences/preferences.xul.
    And what about the Bookmarks Manager, History, Downloads dialogs?

    Really these things should’ve been part of the Australis release but I guess you decided to ship early rather than get all the features ready first which I can almost commend If not for the fact that you still drastically changed the UI in a single update *(rather than incremental changes al Google Chrome)

    • msujaws says:

      Having preferences available through an obscure URL that 99% of people won’t know about doesn’t count 😉

      This is something that we wanted for Australis, but as you describe, in order to get things out the door you have to start trimming projects. Even though this is now enabled in Nightly, it is far from being ready to ship in a release build of Firefox. It’s important that we get the remaining bugs fixed first before we can call this feature ready for mass adoption.

      As for making one big change compared to small changes: We have been making small changes to the UI from Firefox 7 up to Firefox 28. Some changes are easy to make in subtle ways, but Australis didn’t fit that mold and mass changes like Australis won’t happen often.

  • ferongr says:

    The styling for all the UI elements (radio buttons, comboboxes etc) is really ugly and look like a parody of OSX Aqua.

    The first time I opened the prefs after Nightly updated I was left in disbelief. I hope they are placeholders.

    • pepejeria says:

      That was my initial reaction as well. I hope the final version has a more native look and feel.

    • Visitor says:

      “Yeah, this is tracked by

      Well, let me disagree.

      First, this bug is windows-only (while my first comment/concern was on having a nice UX on every platform).

      Second, I remember the very first iterations of this feature, and the styling was native at that time. So it means that someone deliberately put some fancy controls there thinking about them as an improvement. So no, the linked bug isn’t very likely to bring that back, so please stop writhing it in every comment.

      IMHO, in content prefs may be a good idea (if it allows more than the previous UI, like search&filtering) but the direction taken here to use a custom and out-of-nowhere styling is plain wrong.

  • […] enabled by default in Firefox Nightly"Jared Wein, a Senior Software engineer works for Mozilla said in a blog […]

  • fred says:

    Looks too much like Chrome. Doesn’t matter if it was copied or not, or if it’s a good idea, or whatever- they were first, we have to differentiate, even if only visually.

    And, like @ferongr said. Good thing no one should ever need to go here 😉

    • msujaws says:

      If the thinking of “someone did it first so therefore we should never do it” was true, then why would Chrome have tabs? Why would one browser add bookmarking after another one already had it? This argument is old and tired. If something good comes along, it would be crazy to disregard it simply because “we didn’t do it first”.

  • somename says:

    Can I ask something? Why the styling doesn’t match the Add-on Manager’s styling? Somebody said Australis was all about UI consistency, and this is inconsistent.

    That, and I hate how is everything so big and fat and requires scrolling. I’d like to remind you UX guys that not everyone’s got a touch computer.

  • I filed bug 1012701.

  • pepejeria says:

    There are probably bugs reported for this already, but I noticed that there is no way to dismiss sheets that appear on OS X, like clicking on the “Exceptions…” button under security. ESC does dismiss the sheet, but I doubt that this is something that all users know about.

    I also see that the text is cut off in the dropdowns, even though there is tons of space available on page. This can be seen under general and privacy, location bar for example.

    The main issue though, as it has been pointed out several times, is the lack of native controls. These custom UI form controls stick out in a not positive way on OS X.

    Having said that, its an improvement from the old preferences dialog, but still has some rough edges that should hopefully be fixed.

  • mayank says:

    I am on windows, and i really like this change!

  • pepejeria says:

    FYI: I opened for the OS X “can not dismiss sheet with mouse”-issue.

  • What are the plans for about:permissions? I think it could be a good idea to integrate about:permissions in the new preferences. What do you think?

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